Saving space, increasing yields and conserving water were at the top of the list when planning the backyard gardening space.
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The hydroponic and vertical gardens in the backyard, installed by Dean Dekker of Dekker Family Farms and flanked by orange and grapefruit trees, is one of senior landscape architect Scott Davidson’s favorite features of the home. “This is very important in creating a sustainable home,” adds Davidson. “Growing your own food is essential to reducing trucking of fruits and vegetables to each individual. The result of growing your own has a large effect on the environment.”
The garden, planted with strawberries, tomatoes, sweet Vidalia onions, bok choi and mesclun, features both vertical planters and barrel planters. Coconut thatch replaces soil as a growing medium. According to Davidson, the system is powered by small solar collectors and irrigated via rain water barrels. “A timer turns the pump on and waters the plants three to four times a day for about three to four minutes each time,” adds Davidson. “This provides for a very efficient use of water and gives the plants only what they need. The water is supplemented with liquid fertilizer, so every time the plants are watered they receive the proper nutrients.” The result of this eco-supported system? Water conservation, higher and faster yield and improved quality and taste.
A drum composter – the final addition to the backyard gardening space – provides the home gardener with rich compost to nourish and fertilize garden beds. Leaves, grass and garden trimmings and organic kitchen waste are placed in one of two chambers. Each fully enclosed chamber — constructed of rust-resistant galvanized steel — is rotated daily until organic material matures and is ready to be used.
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